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Cominco Gardens is a 12 acre property located not far from downtown Kimberly, BC. The Gardens has over 45 thousand flowers annually and is free to visit. Cominco Gardens is a popular place for a picnic and was originally built to showcase the Elephant Brand Fertilizer which the Cominco Mine produced.
Cominco Gardens and Marysville Falls
Kimberley was named in 1896 after the Kimberley mine in South Africa.
Kimberley is a town with a population of approximately 6,500 people. The discovery of silver, lead and zinc in 1892 resulted in the development of one of the world’s largest mines in Kimberley. The Sullivan Mine operated from 1909 until its closure in 2001, it employed nearly 3,500 people at its peak. The mine produced over $20 billion in lead, zinc, and silver that was processed at nearby smelters in Trail and Nelson, BC. Although mining was the backbone of the local economy, Kimberley was also situated close to lumber mills and served as a locomotive maintenance facility for the Canadian Pacific Railway. As early as the late 1960s, the municipality started to explore options to diversify the economy. Situated in the Rockies, the community recognized Kimberley’s enormous recreational potential and began exploring ways to attract visitors. In 1973, the town decided to adopt a Bavarian theme which included the creation of a pedestrian only shopping area and transforming the downtown area so that it resembled a small mountain village in the alps which led to Kimberley becoming known as the Bavarian City of the Rockies. This was the beginning of Kimberley’s transition from a traditional mining town into a tourist destination.
You can tour the Kimberley Underground Mining Railway and ride the rails through the Mark Creek valley and learn all about hard rock mining at the Underground Interpretive Center. A guide will demonstrate some of the equipment used in the Sullivan Mine. You can also tour the Powerhouse featuring the huge compressors that powered the mine. A place that is well worth visiting.
Kimberley, BC and the Sullivan Mine
A video on Kimberley and the Sullivan Mine
Marysville Falls is just a short distance south of Kimberley, BC in the community of Marysville. The trail starts at Eco Park where there is a sculpture of a cutthroat trout (celebrating the return of this native species to Mark Creek after a watershed restoration project), from there you cross the highway and follow a 10 to 15 minute trail through the forest to a 100 foot waterfall.
Watch a video on Cominco Gardens and Marysville Falls
The Cranbrook History Centre has a collection of 28 railway cars. Thirteen are available for public viewing. There are seven cars of the 1929 “Trans-Canada Limited” (a classic “Jazz Era Art Deco” design), 2 cars of the 1907 “Soo-Spokane Train” (a deluxe example of “Edwardian Art Nouveau Elegance”), and one 1927 executive night car the “Strathcona”. Queen Elizabeth II, John & Jackie Kennedy and Sir Winston Churchill were some of the passengers that rode the Strathcona.
The Royal Alexandra Hall room was originally built in 1906 in Winnipeg and is the former Grand Cafe of the CPR's 1906 Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg. It was rescued from the wrecker’s ball and rebuilt at the Cranbrook Museum. The room is 3000 sq ft made of oak with a high vaulted ceiling rising to 24 ft from the arches. It seats 154 for dinner and 280 for performances. This space is available for rent.
The Archives has thousands of documented artifacts and records, including a collection of newspapers published in Cranbrook between 1898 and 2009. The museum also has a model railway, gift shop and a paleontology exhibit.
Cranbrook, BC Train Museum
Cranbrook, BC Train Museum video Part 1
Gold was discovered on Wild Horse Creek in the 1860s. By 1865 5,000 prospectors came to Fisherville. Many men earned over $40,000 that summer. John Galbraith started a ferry service over the Kootenay River, which became known as Galbraith’s Ferry. A few buildings grew up around his ferry office. Records show that John Galbraith charged $5 per person and $10 per animal to use his ferry service. In 1888 a bridge was built and the ferry service was closed. By the fall of 1865 most of the surface gold was gone and the miners moved on. By 1882, only 11 settlers lived in the East Kootenay district.
As time went on, disputes over land ownership between the local Ktunaxa First Nation population and the newcomers would arise. The big dispute was between Chief Isadore of the Ktunaxa and Colonel James Baker over a piece of land called Joseph’s Prairie, the site of present-day Cranbrook. In 1887 things got really serious when local Provincial Police arrested two young Indians for the murder of two miners. Chief Isadore and 30 armed men broke open the jail in Galbraith’s Ferry and released the Ktunaxa prisoners.
Superintendent Samuel B. Steele and 75 members of the North West Mounted Police were sent to resolve these issues. They established the first post west of the Rockies, Kootenay Post. After all the issues were settled the NWMP left in 1888. The residents of the area petitioned the Dominion Government to change the settlement’s name from Galbraith’s Ferry to Fort Steele in honor of Superintendent Sam Steele.
Things went fairly smoothly at Fort Steele until 1892 when silver, lead, and coal were discovered nearby. Prospectors flooded the valley once more. Fort Steele became the region's main centre and quickly grew. By 1898 there were 11 hotels, 4 restaurants, 4 general stores, a hardware store, a brewery, and many other businesses. In 1898 Fort Steele had telephone, and telegraph service. By the spring of that year a water system was installed.
The Canadian Pacific Railway had bypassed Fort Steele in favor of Cranbrook. Fort Steele’s land values and population plummeted as Cranbrook attracted the tradesmen and merchants.
In the late 1950s, local citizens devoted to bring Fort Steele back to life in order to protect the old town. In 1961, the Government declared Fort Steele an historic park. Today Fort Steele Heritage Town is one of the most important attractions of its kind in British Columbia.
Fort Steele Historic Center
Here is a video on Fort Steele
Wells Grey Provincial Park
Wells Gray Provincial Park is a large wilderness park located in east-central British Columbia, Canada. The park covers 1.3 million acres (524,990 hectares). It is British Columbia's fourth largest park, after Tatshenshini, Spatsizi and Tweedsmuir. This wilderness park contains five major lakes, many smaller lakes, two river systems, and hundreds of waterfalls and rapids.
Seven of the Park’s waterfalls originate on the Murtle River, but the most famous is Helmcken Falls, and the very reason Wells Gray Park exists. Cascading 463 feet to the canyon below, Helmcken Falls is the fourth largest waterfall in Canada (three times higher than Niagara Falls).
There are approximately 50 known aboriginal archaeological sites within Wells Gray Park. The Shuswap tribe left behind most of the sites that date to about 5,000 years ago. The Chilcotins were another tribe that made summer visits to the region. These two tribes at times fought over possession of the hunting areas. The names "Battle Mountain", "Fight Lake", and "Indian Valley" received their names as a result of such battles that occurred in 1875. Interesting sites that can be viewed today are pictographs found on the shores of Mahood Lake. Members of the Canim Lake Indian Band created these pictographs that can be accessed by boat.
In 1862, the Overlanders were among the first Europeans to see the Clearwater River, and named it for its clear coloring. Between 1911 and 1914 surveys were done by Robert Lee. In 1913 he discovered Helmcken Falls. Over a number of years, to protect the falls, a park was discussed and finally in 1939 Wells Gray Provincial Park came to be, it was named for the Hon. Arthur Wellesley Gray, the provincial Minister of Lands.
There are 49 named waterfalls in the Park.
There are many more that are not named.
A video on Wells Grey Provincial Park
These first nation origins date from 8,000 years ago, when the First Nations were in the area. In 1782 a smallpox epidemic killed two thirds of the population.
The European settlement period of Hope history begins in 1808. Explorer Simon Frazer arrived in the Hope area in 1808, and the Hudson's Bay Company established the Fort Hope trading post in 1848. Gold was discovered In 1858 and theFraser Canyon Gold Rush began. In 1859 Reverend Alexander St. David Francis Pringle founded the first library on the British Columbia mainland. He also founded the first Christ Church (Anglican), which is still holding services to this day. Hope became part of the Colony of British Columbia when the new British colony was created on August 2,1858. Along with the rest of British Columbia Hope became part of Canada in 1871. Hope incorporated as a village on April 6, 1929, became a town on January 1, 1965, and was reincorporated as a District Municipality named the District of Hope on December 7,1992. DuringWorld War 2 aninternment camp for Japanese Canadians was set up near Hope at Tashme (today's Sunshine Valley) just beyond the 100-mile exclusion zone from the coast.
Watch a video on all the wood carvings in Hope, BC
Sasquatch Caves and Museum
The Sasquatch Caves near Hope BC.
As the story goes, The Sasquatch Caves were named after a family of Sasquatches that were spotted in the caves. These caves were a little different than normal caves. It appeared that these caves were formed by an avalanche that happened many years ago. Big boulders came crashing down the mountain forming large crevices which can be explored. These caves are on private property of the Holiday Motel, so if you would like to explore the caves you have to sign a wavier first.
A video on the Sasquatch Caves and Musuem
Kilby Historic Center
The Kilby (Thomas and Eliza) historic Site is a 1920s Fraser Valley living history site, which is situated on a 7 acres heritage farm. There is a 1906 General Store Museum and Manchester House Hotel & Post Office, as well as friendly costumed interpreters, farm animals and an orchard playground. Thomas died in 1922, and their son Acton took over managing the store until 1977. In 1926, automobiles began to appear at Harrison Mills, and the Kilbys installed gravity-fed gas pumps that served travelers till 1977.
Situated on a flood plain, the General Store and other buildings were elevated and connected with boardwalks. Harrison Mills is also home to the Kilby Provincial Park <http://britishcolumbia.com/things-to-do-and-see/parks-and-trails/vancouver-coast-mountains/kilby-provincial-park/>, located within walking distance of Kilby Historic Site on Harrison Bay at the confluence of both the Fraser and Harrison
A video on the Kilby Historic Center
Here is a video on the hiking trails in Midway, BC
A video on rebuilding a TBI
Cranbrook, BC Train Museum video Part 2